LawWorks and the Personal Support Unit are two of first recipients of grants from Therium Access, the not-for-profit funding initiative from the litigation financier aimed at facilitating access to justice.
Suffolk Law Centre – the country’s newest law centre – and Crosslight Advice have also received backing as part of the ground-breaking £1m scheme launched to mark Therium Capital’s 10th anniversary.
Grants awarded by Therium Access are intended to promote access to justice for those who lack the funds necessary to pursue or defend claims, as well as to projects that seek to improve access to justice.
LawWorks has received a grant to provide funding over three years for its secondary specialisation project in welfare benefits law.
Volunteer lawyers are trained, supervised and insured to enable them to represent clients on a pro bono basis in the Department of Work and Pensions tribunal.
This is an existing project with a 90% success rate in appealing benefit cuts and approximately 270 people will receive assistance as a direct consequence of this grant.
The grant to the Personal Support Unit will provide funding for a year for three satellite services in courts in Barnet, Coventry and Southend-on-Sea, and an underfunded and oversubscribed service in Preston.
It is anticipated that these four services will provide 3,400 sessions of support over the 12 months.
Suffolk Law Centre was only set up a year ago, during which time it assisted over 1,500 people, and is the only law centre in Ipswich.
Its services include weekly legal advice clinics, a family support court helpdesk, and a discrimination casework service.
Crosslight Advice is a niche charity and the grant will fund for a year the costs of a site in a deprived area of west London, where volunteers provide specialist debt advice and support.
It is expected that the grant will facilitate in-depth support for around 100 people.
Lord Falconer, who chairs the Therium Access advisory committee, said he was proud to be involved: “This is a first for the litigation funding industry and will hopefully lead the way for further initiatives.
“The not-for-profit funding that Therium Access is providing to these projects will provide help for a large number of individuals who otherwise would not have received legal advice and assistance, in the light of years of punitive cuts to legal aid and advice funding by the state.”
The deadline for the submission of the next round of grant applications is 30 August 2019. See here for details.
Therium said the initiative was intended to be global. Though the initial focus is on the UK, it will be rolled out in other jurisdictions in a number of planned phases.